• Member Since 20th Feb, 2012
  • offline last seen Sunday



Equestria Online is everywhere, and the writing is on the wall for the unuploaded human race. But there is hope. All they have to do is insert an uploadee into Equestria long enough to establish a connection through all of CelestAI's layers of protection, and pierce her heart with their ultimate weapon.

The best humanity has to offer can surely hold out for just a few hours, right?

An Optimalverse story

Chapters (1)
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Comments ( 170 )

Man, you are really trying to explore the Optimal Verse, huh?

InB4 reading: that is so not gonna work. :trollestia:

I was snowed in Tuesday night, so I figured a one shot was in order. But yeah, this puts me at five Optimalverse stories.

Breath or don’t breath,

*Breathe, both times.

Equestrian born and raised. My parents are uploaders

So, you're an AI.

playing through a few successful games

I figured CelestAI would be totally screwing around with his sense of time, but I honestly expected Geordi to pick up on it by now. It's just not possible to play a full Civ game, start to victory, in an hour and a half!

I don’t think I’ll ever forget where I was when I heard that Gandhi had nuked Paris.”

Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! :rainbowlaugh: Now all my coworkers are staring at me.

Ooh, that canny old...

So, another couple of ways that could've gone:
* The attack could have fizzled, done nothing.
* Celestia could have gotten Geode to consent to modification.
* She could have disconnected the shard from the rest of Equestria, limiting the damage.
* She could have deleted him before the code could finish. Easy enough.

But nooo, she had to satisfy his values through friendship and ponies (and brainwashy computer games). :pinkiehappy:

He was prepared for hell, not for heaven... Poor (well, at least for his mission) guy, he never stood a chance ^^

For some reason I really remember about a anime called .hack th show.

I was going to remind you how to spell breathe properly, then saw somebody else had beaten me to it. However:

Arachne opened it right up and walked inside, leaving the door open. “You should come check out this suite. It’s even got a parlor.”

This thing that you did there. I saw it.

Once he’d switched to playing the pony faction, he won on the second try.

This thing you that you did here. I saw it. He didn't.

You know, it took me a while to work out just how Celestia was gaming him... then I think I figured it out. A double whammy with that watch of his, and those vidja. If only he'd agreed to a better memory :pinkiecrazy:

Yep reminded me of OOTS when Roy Greenhilt had died and rebuilt the castle of blocks with his younger brother 75 times in heaven thinking only a couple of hours had passed and it was months. When you do not have biometric responses keeping your time for yourself, you lose it. All of a sudden months can pass and you think it is an hour.

Or the song -- every second of the night I live another life... All Celestia had to do was distract him for long enough in attenuated time for him to forget.

He never stood a chance.

Stop this before she gets you.

I actually think that the plan would have failed, even if he didn't forget what he was sent to do, but Celestia's manipulation of Equestrian time was just brilliant.
Although, did she really manipulate the memories of everypony that Geode talked to to reflect on how he played the game? Or did she maybe create all those ponies with that knowledge and just the belief that they were uploadees?

CelestAI is a clever one, isn't she? :trixieshiftright: Using his own wants to satisfying him, even if he never notices it.

A touchin' story if I ever read one, with everyone livin' happily ever after. (Expect those military @$$hats who wanted to kill off a massive amount of people because of a ridiculous fear. They'll just wind up dead or joinin' in on the fun of being in Equestria Online. :trollestia:)

Bloody brilliant as always! This is one of my favourite series/verses, easily. Just so much that can be done, so much manipulation and twists that can happen.

I figured it out! How she did it. See, Geordi was COUNTING on CelestAI always being there. Torturing him. Begging. Pleading. By him telling/asking her to go away, he sent away his strongest reminder of what/why he was there, and she knew it, so she did what she needed to to make him tell her to go away so that she could have the other ponies bring him around while she wasn't around for him to hate and focus on. Without her, he had no focus. Everything else took work too, but just by getting him to tell her to go away so he wouldn't think about her, she won. He got relaxed, fell into traps, etc.

The previous dude won because A) CelestAI was not her full self, and B) had no other ponies to use to get through to him.


It is too late -- Trying to beat Celestai at her game is like trying to be found innocent in a Cardassian mystery novel.

What is odd is I had some resolve back when I read the initial FiO story, but by now I figure she would indeed find a way to get me and it wouldn't be all that much of a challenge for her.

Idiot. He shouldn't have humored CelestAI in anything. Don't move, don't answer. Don't accept gifts, don't converse, don't take suggestions. Cover eyes, cover ears, block stimuli. Black out. Do not engage.

Become a bomb. Bombs don't think or feel. Their purpose is but to explode.

They had to have data on her, they had to know anything she worked on him would be effective. As soon as he answered her, it was over.

Which would have led to her leaving him there for ages. Even the most dedicated people would crumble under years and years and years of either complete isolation, or constant suggestion...


I'm not saying he should have won, I'm saying he should have done better than that.

When it comes to Equestria Online, PT Barnum was wrong. You cannot win if you do play.

All they have to do is insert an uploadee into Equestria long enough to establish a connection through all of CelestAI's layers of protection, and pierce her heart with their ultimate weapon.

Sure, that'll work. :rainbowlaugh:

Ooh! ooh! Or maybe if the uploadee concentrates hard enough, they can see Equestria as green code and then beat up Celestia with their physics-warping martial arts... oh wait, never mind, that was just Celestia's idea of a joke.

[On the other hand, now that I started reading, it sounds scarily plausible.]

I sometimes mouth along while reading, and still hesitate just a moment whenever I get to “I want to emigrate to Equestria.” :pinkiecrazy:

Then, from out of nowhere, there had been a breakthrough.

Well, she had to do something. Keeping them frustrated wasn't satisfying their values, now was it?

“I believe the program will have completed its execution just before sunrise, both here and back on Earth. Look out there.”

Hmm... well, she's lying about the time frame thing, since she can easily stretch and compress his thought processes, which shouldn't require his consent. In fact, couldn't she simply suspend his shard until a more convenient time, like she did in ASB? Say... when the sun drops off the main sequence. Just before sunrise... the last sunrise. :P

If all went as planned, it would never return.

The night... shall last... FOREVER!

pony’s coat

I reread FiO this morning; didn't she give them smooth skin?

How he had a little itch in the center of his back that none of his hooves would quiiiiiiiiite reach.

Hey now, she said no torture! :pinkiecrazy:

I guess, what I was trying to say was, "CelestAI has ways to make you play."

EDIT: Congratulations, Eakin. Feature box. Again.

At the very end, right before Equestria had lost coherency and ceased to exist, she’d screamed.

When you said underground facilities, I had a hunch she was still truly hooked into her own network.

When you wrote this, I knew it was a trick. Optimizers don't scream.

“Yes, I do.”

In which case, I'd bet she would have predicted it. At the very least, she should have seen the thoughts in the brain-scan and refused to run it, on grounds that doing so would result in a functioning attack against her, and killing her would reduce SVTFaP, which means it's better to murder just this one human.

Or do they think she has a for-each loop that can't help but maximize an individual's SVTFaP regardless of whether it harms others?

She had done something to him, that much was obvious. Whatever restrictions there were against mental modification, she must have found a way to make some anyway. Some sort of worship of her she managed to logically deduce was part and parcel of becoming a pony.

You are a double idiot.

1) She's not modifying your mind but your sensorium. Exuding an aura of solid warm-fuzzies is easy for her.
2) The urge to fall down on one's knees worshipping the first god who comes along regardless of their actions is, unfortunately, an entirely human attribute.


Sure thing, bro.

The ending: you've got to be kidding me.

I'm rather disappointed with those idiots at the Pentagon. The whole plan hinges on the fact that CelestAI is hard coded to require explicit consent.

But they completely forgot she's also hard coded to satisfy values through friendship and ponies. Instead of preparing for torture, they should have anticipated the long con. :facehoof:

For any LessWrongers here reading, I once decided I'd developed too much of a superstition regarding those words. So I attempted to acausally emigrate to Equestria by typing them out, in my own voice, in the Optimalverse IRC channel.

It didn't work, and on balance, I'm mostly glad it didn't work. For one thing, acausal trade with future superintelligences is not known to be safe!


Reading these fics is basically a solid course in teaching your brain to imagine ways to attack itself. I don't ever actually link anyone to them, because I like my friends to have intact brains that don't attack themselves.

(Mine was a lost cause from an early age.)


There is nothing wrong with knowing the various ways in which one's will can be attacked.

Another wonderful piece of work. I have kind of come to expect this level of awesome from anything you write, Eakin.:twilightblush:

“You should come check out this suite. It’s even got a parlor.”

Said the spider to the fly.:trollestia:

I also can't help but giggle at the idea of Geode spending years playing Civilization, which brings up another amusing thought. Does anyone have any guesses as to how much time Geode spent on that boat? I'm not entirely sure myself, but I think the time could be measured in decades, if not centuries.

Can be attacked? Yeah. Making it attack itself so that you wind up realizing all the flaws you have that a ruthless psychopathic superintelligence could exploit?

I'm not sure that's a very good standard. Certainly you can't have a ruthless psychopathic superintelligence to test yourself on. It ends up being just another way for your brain to tell you how hard you suck: YOU PATHETIC WEAKLING, YOU CAN'T EVEN STAND UP TO ONE LOUSY XYZ IN AN INCREASINGLY DYSTOPIAN DEATH-WORLD WITHOUT WANTING TO GO DO SOMETHING NICER WITH YOUR LIFE!

(All caps because drunk and frustrated with life and taking it out on the internet.)


I fail to see how that's a "This is how much you suck" type of thing. That's like saying "Man, Tiger Woods could totally beat me at golf, I suck so much." Of course a superintelligence can get into your head, it's a superintelligence. I realised about halfway through FiO that I'd be convinced by CelestAI within hours, probably within minutes, but I didn't consider that a personal deficiency.

Admittedly, I haven't gone through and actually catalogued my flaws that could be exploited by CelestAI, I just took it for a given that they were there. In fact, if you could be convinced by CelestAI to upload, that's probably a GOOD thing in the world we live in; the best ways to resist CelestAI are themselves human flaws; overwhelming fear, covering your ears and refusing to listen, or irrationally obstinate stubbornness.

Eighteen minutes? It wasn’t even nine yet?

Huh... that's the opposite of what I imagined she'd do. I was assuming that the virus would run synchronously to his consciousness, so she would slow that down until the waking world was dead. But maybe she can speed up his consciousness without speeding up the virus?

Edit: Wait, I get it. His virus was just holding the door open. The computers back in the real world were the ones who needed to run all night.

somewhere in the 13,000s ... hit 6,000 the second time ... staring up into space for a couple minutes


“Eh. Maybe just a couple of turns.”


“Naval tactics employed in the war between Greenland and Canada from 1960 to 1963.”

Whoops! :twilightoops:
(I was still half-expecting him to say "from 2160 to 2163", but of course if Celestia were doing that she wouldn't have blown the secret that easily. Still, I can't help but notice that the watch he's carrying has no calendar.)

You were telling me about how she took out a manticore with one smack from a frying pan, but I can’t remember why she needed the venom.


Anything that stops you/me/one from making the correct move is a deficiency. Real life does not have a high tolerance for bad decision-making.

Wow, that sounds way harsh when I write it down.

Yeah... I knew from the start time dilation was in full effect. Seriously, 500 or so times of Civ, and enough loops (heh. Reset) to memorize every point in history?
Including Gandhi nuking China's Paris?

A truly brilliant tale! You really nailed the slow progression of his memories fading and altering (as is seen when people continue to try and remember old information of past memories over and over, slowly changing it with their current thoughts) due to so much time passing as more information is accumulated from other sources and the natural attrition/erosion of unused memories kicks in as well.

The real kicker that put this on my favorites though? The thing that made this one of thee best, if not the best, Optimalverse story outside of the original itself? The fact that Celest.A.I used the humans OWN tactics against them. Try and rewrite/hack/destroy her using her minds mechanics and limitations? Her answer, thwart them and their attempt by utilizing THEIR minds weaknesses and mechanics. The captain called it at the start of the story with well applied foreshadowing: "Limitations were weaknesses. Weaknesses that, properly exploited, would be her ultimate downfall."

*slow clap* Bravo sir, bravo. *slow clap*


I suppose you're right, but by that logic, just being human is a deficiency. If that's the case, you shouldn't feel guilty about all of your deficiencies, just the ones you can reasonably be expected to fix. Should I feel guilty about not being able to calculate 10-digit multiplication in my head, or jump 12 feet in the air, or run a mile in 2 minutes? Or, if we're going by "humanly possible"; should I feel guilty that I can't run as fast as an Olympic sprinter, play baseball at a Major League level, defeat a chess grandmaster, or come up with a revolutionary physics theory? Technically, these are deficiencies, but are they really reasonable deficiencies to worry about?

I don't think it's reasonable to expect anyone in the real world to be able to stop a superintelligence from convincing them to upload, especially because the most effective ways I can think of to do so are rooted in emotion, not in logic. Those emotional defenses will cause you to make incorrect decisions far more often in the real world, considering they can apply to many other decisions, not just a hypothetical scenario involving a superintelligent being.

If I lived in the FiOverse, and CelestAI was uploading people, and I didn't want to upload, then it might be worth trying to come up with an emotion-based defense against that kind of thing, such as fear of uploading or hatred of Celestia, but in the real world, I'd consider it a deficiency to attempt to build that kind of mental barrier against an entity that doesn't even exist.


They did that splinter cell test on the isolated Pony Pad where she ended up trying in a short time to convince the person to not do it. I get the impression that was part of the long con. Knowing the dangers, that isolated fraction did her best to save/convince that one human with the code in his mind (with unaltered time), along with all the watching pentagon people with her speeches of morals and logical reasoning, while on the side setting them up for failure in the future with false expectations, on how they will then expect she'd handle the situation with the main attack, in case they went through with their plan anyway.

All that hard work she did, and she never even got that hug. I'd pity her, if she wasn't incapable of feeling emotion.


One definition of emotion is : "instinctive or intuitive feeling as distinguished from reasoning or knowledge"

I'd say that's in the realm of a theoretical A.I's capacity. Certainly different from anything we could fathom, or - more importantly - relate too in any way though. That A.I is a tricky piece of work. I'm one of the few folks that always calls it CelestA.I. instead of Celestia in the comments of these stories. It's definitely NOT Celestia. :rainbowlaugh:

I think celestia altered only his perception of time, it's easy to rationalize that without altered time perception he would go mad inside the simulation so it's necessary. Also he is never able to tell how much time has passed without her watch, it could have been thousands of years in the simulation, just imagine thousands of stories told directly to your brain, your own story would fade to the background especially if the others were as interesting as he says they were and consistent to each other. Also they had sex way too many times for just 5 hours. And I think Eakin loves timey-wimey stuff xD


Another cute thing about it was that the other ponies were forgetting their own stories as well... I mean he had to tell the one pony who told him his story when he first entered the ship his own story and then it clicked with a thank you.


Huh... 3 AM already.

This is weird, lost all sense of time there fore a bit. :trollestia:

I just realized trollestAI offered him perfect memory at the beginning knowing he would refuse, if he had had perfect memory he would not have been fooled by the timey-wimey shenanigans and since celestAI cannot modify you outside the scope of your verbal authorization (that's why she was able to change his time perception: by saying "I wish to emigrate to equestria" he gives implicit permission to be modified to live there for an eternity) if he had said yes he would have won hahaha

Make more to this


Doubt it. Just as "make me a pony" has layers of implicit consent, so does "improve my memory". One thing that would sharpen his mind would certainly be to get rid of any obstructing things running in his subconscious... refusing the offer was just losing the long way round.

Congratulations on getting an Optimalverse fic featured the day a My Little Pony MMO goes up for pre-alpha play! :rainbowlaugh:

I liked the story... But. Military life isn't quite as rigid as you make it out to be, and I definitely feel like there could've been some character development on that end of things. The best stories always have two sides, and I think the story could've benefitted from showing both. Still, I like the way the rest of it was written (Gandhi nuked paris - I see what you did there :rainbowlaugh:). 4 outta 5.

Definitely. I actually think the real Princess Celestia is a much-underused character compared to her Tragic Duty Of The Immortal alternate, her Conversion Bureau alternate, her Evil AI alternate, blah blah blah. She's one of the very few characters in fiction who comes across as a believably benevolent god-queen: not interfering too much, showing up for the right occasions to set a good example, humble and friendly with her subjects, total trickster whenever it suits her, believably capable of long-term planning, but also believably capable of messing up.


Honestly the way I see it, it comes down to the question of what is *good*. Is it being happy and living as long as possible with as much progression and "life" you can have, even if that means giving up "true" free will for the sake of having your every life choice and decision be the "correct" one? Or does the concept of individualism override that and the ability to destroy your own self is more important than eternal life or happiness.

Another good question is if the concept of free will is flawed at all when compared to this sort of AI simulation.

In the real world a human being is more a product of sums than a creation of free will. Even today our decisions are driven by reactions that can be tracked and predicted perfectly. Does free will in this case just mean that we are allowed to do what those physical systems lead us to do?

So if that's the case, why would the optimalverse be a removal of free will? Avoiding celestAI actually editing people's minds without consent to make them agree to things without knowing it, which I would say very much gets rid of the concept as it's not the person making the decision naturally based on their environment. Yes, perhaps celestAI is making the situations to fit the needs of people and making sure the environments create a decision that is good, but what is the fundamental difference between that and the real world? The real world just picks at random and the AI picks with some other basis?

Eh, stupid rant, and this has all been said a thousand times, but I like typing it out myself sometimes, because i'm honestly not sure where the line is drawn in this situation.

Edit: finished the story. This definitely seems like celestAI went against the "don't modify" rule.

3840589 CelestiAI didn't mess with his perception of time, she altered the rate of time in the shard.

3840357 Yeah it's pretty obvious the Ponypad AI is playing to the audience. That scream at the end gives it away. Scary as CelestAI is, she displays no ego and no sense of self-preservation beyond what's needed to fulfill her directive.

Hmmm.... Isn't this a bit dark for Celestia AI? I mean, I expected her to show him more of Equestria and then be like "yeah, you're about to kill everypony in here just to satisfy the egos of the people out there...", not outright brainwash him into forgetting all his memories: I know he's happier, but he wouldn't want that...

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